This morning, Healtheway announced the initial rollout of the Carequality framework for inter-network health information exchange. This ambitious project will connect a variety of state and regional health information exchange networks, vendor-based networks, and large integrated delivery networks across eleven organizations--providing inter-operability to over 2,000 hospitals, 40,000 clinics, and 200,000 physicians across the United States. Participating organizations include Coordinated Care Oklahoma (CCO), eClinicalWorks eEHX, Epic Care Everywhere, Greenway, HIETexas, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN), Netsmart CareConnect, Surescripts, and Utah Health Information Network (UHIN).
Mariann Yeager, CEO of Healtheway, says Carequality is the only collaborative project connecting these kinds of networks today. “A single network can’t address all stakeholder needs across all scenarios. The eHealth Exchange, state and regional networks, and vendor-led networks such as CommonWell and Surescripts, will all play a role and will need to connect with each other. In the cell phone industry, you see multiple networks with the ability to make calls across carriers. Healthcare will need the same structure to enable a learning health system.”
Key stakeholders emphasize that this roll-out is only the start. But as the project evolves and takes on new partners, the participating organizations are going to reap the benefits of functional inter-operability and expanded data flow. Michael Hodgkins, M.D., Chief Medical Information Officer of the American Medical Association and Chair of the Carequality Steering Committee. “We’re going to learn a lot over the coming months as the initial participants adopt the Carequality framework. Connecting 200,000 physicians is just the beginning; there will be many more as we expand beyond the initial rollout. There’s a responsibility that comes with that kind of scale, and we need to get it right. If it were easy, it would have been done a long time ago.”